There are many things you can do to help protect personal documents, privacy and identity when using public networks:
Secure Your Real-Time Traffic:
Prevent Others from Connecting to Your Laptop:
Before connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots, you should disable sharing of any files, folders and services you may not want others to view, use or edit.
You can view all your PCs shared folders in Windows XP:
- Access your PCs Control Panel
- Open Administrative Tools. If in the control panel is in category view, youll need to select the Performance and Maintenance category.
- Double-click on Computer Management.
- Click on Shared Folders and open the Shares folder.
You should see all your PCs shared directories. Keep in mind that by default, Windows XP adds a few shared directories (such as for remote administration); however, these should be protected from network access like on Wi-Fi hotspots. You should refer to the programs help documentation for more information. Typically, if a share path is of a specific personal directory, its likely a shared folder that others on the same network, such as hotspots, can view and/or edit.
You can edit the sharing preferences of folders in Windows XP:
1. Right-click on the folder, such as in My Computer, Windows Explorer, or on your desktop.
2. Select Sharing and Security.
3. Edit the settings in the Sharing tab, and click OK.
To protect yourself from intruders on Wi-Fi hotspots and the Internet, you should have personal firewall software installed and active while connected. You can either use Windows XPs built-in firewall utility, accessed via the Control Panel, or use third party software such as ZoneAlarm.
Make sure your operating system is up to date at all times. This ensures that youre protected with the latest fixes that may repair any security holes in the operating system.
Watch Out for "Evil-Twin Hotspots"
There are several things you can do to help verify the legitimacy of Wi-Fi hotspots:
Beware Public Workstations or PCs
However, exercise extreme caution when using corporate or other VPNs connected to a remote network that enables access to personal data. Any hosted VPN access or software made for access on public networks uses the same strong encryption (to protect the real-time traffic), but this does not enable remote connectivity to network files and servers. Therefore, if someone does get your VPN account information, they wont be given access to any files or servers.
Stay tuned for the solutions Wi-Fi hotspot operators can implement to increase wireless security at their venues.This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.